The Toyota Cheetahs managed to keep their unbeaten Carling Currie Cup winning streak intact in Durban, while the Vodacom Bulls and Airlink Pumas also gained important away victories to boost their playoff ambitions as the competition reached the halfway stage on Wednesday.
The Free Staters adapted better to the wet conditions at Hollywoodbets Kings Park on the east coast to beat the Cell C Sharks 29-15, which allowed them to hold onto top spot on the table.
However, the Vodacom Bulls – winners of the previous two campaigns – closed the gap on the frontrunners to just one point after their 44-10 Jukskei derby victory over the Sigma Lions at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg.
In the day’s opening fixture played at the DHL Stadium in Cape Town, the Airlink Pumas turned on the style after the break to defeat DHL Western Province 37-11 for their second win of the campaign.
Following the latest round of matches and with all sides now having played six games, the unbeaten Toyota Cheetahs still top the standings with 26 points. The Vodacom Bulls’ bonus-point win over their Gauteng neighbours allowed the defending champions to reduce the gap to a single point – they are now on 25 points.
Perhaps more importantly for the Pretoria outfit, they also managed to stretch their advantage to seven points over the third-placed Cell C Sharks (18 points).
Although the Tafel Lager Griquas had a bye, the Northern Cape side remain in fourth spot on 15 points, while the Airlink Pumas’ bonus point triumph down in the Cape saw them double their tally to 10. The Lowvelders also leapfrogged the Capetonians into fifth spot on the table.
DHL WP slipped to sixth on the log with seven points and the Sigma Lions occupy last spot with just two points in the bag.
The next round of matches are scheduled for Wednesday, 6 April. The Airlink Pumas host the Sigma Lions from 15h30 in Nelspruit, Tafel Lager Griquas entertain the Cell C Sharks in Kimberley (17h45) while day’s action will be completed with the North versus South derby between the Vodacom Bulls and DHL WP in Pretoria (20h00).
Meanwhile, the Carling Currie Cup First Division, featuring the seven local provincial teams as well as the Zimbabwe Goshawks, the Black Lion outfit from Georgia and Kenyan representative the Simbas, is set to kick off on 1 April.
The trio of international participants will join the defending champions, the Leopards, Griffons, South Western Districts, Boland, Eastern Province, Border and the Valke over a single round of action, with the final scheduled for the final weekend of June. Updated fixtures will be available by clicking here.
Vodacom Bulls outplay Sigma Lions in Joburg for fifth season win
The Vodacom Bulls outplayed the Sigma Lions in the second half of their Carling Currie Cup clash for a big 44-10 bonus-point win in their Jukskei Derby at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg on Wednesday night.
The hosts kept the score to respectable 14-0 in favour of their northern neighbours at the break, but the Vodacom Bulls broke free in the second half to complete a resounding victory, scoring six tries to one, with experienced former Springbok flyhalf Morne Steyn making an impactful cameo by scoring a try and landing three successful conversions.
Although they never gave up, the Sigma Lions were no match for the well-oiled light blue machine and the defeat means they are still winless after six matches. The Vodacom Bulls netted their fifth win in six games, with their only negative result their loss to unbeaten Toyota Cheetahs.
Sigma Lions 10 (0) – Try: Jurich Claasens. Conversion: James Tedder. Penalty goal: James Tedder.
Vodacom Bulls 40 (14) – Tries: Penalty try, James Verity-Amm, Morne Steyn, Muller Uys, Joe van Zyl, Cebo Dlamini. Conversions: Juan Mostert, Steyn (3).
Toyota Cheetahs sink Cell C Sharks in Durban rain
The Toyota Cheetahs started and finished strong to secure a 29-15 win over the Cell C Sharks at a wet Hollywoodbets Kings Park to keep their unbeaten record in this year’s Carling Currie Cup competition intact.
The Free Staters handled the challenging conditions better, winning the tactical kicking battle whilst also being far more clinical than their hosts with ball in hand to open up a 16-point lead.
A fightback by the Durbanites made it a one-point game after 50 minutes, but the class and composure of the Toyota Cheetahs, coupled with costly errors by the hosts, saw Hawies Fourie’s charges pull away to consolidate their position at the top of the table.
Cell C Sharks 15 (10) – Tries: Fez Mbatha, Dan Jooste. Conversion: Joaquin Diaz Bonilla. Penalty goal: Bonilla.
Toyota Cheetahs 29 (16) – Tries: Andisa Ntsila, Louis van der Westhuizen, Gideon van der Merwe. Conversion: Ruan Pienaar. Penalty goals: Pienaar (2), Steyn (2).
Airlink Pumas turn on the style to down DHL WP in Cape Town
The Airlink Pumas scored a comprehensive and crucial 37-11 Carling Currie Cup victory over DHL Western Province at the DHL Stadium in Cape Town on Wednesday afternoon for their second win of the campaign.
DHL WP supporters must have had high hopes for their team when the sides went into the halftime break locked at 8-8, after both outfits have scored a try and a penalty goal.
However, instead of the home team taking the game to the visitors after the break, it was the Lowvelders who piled on the pressure to score four more tries as they deservingly gained a vital bonus point victory.
DHL Western Province 11 (8) – Try: Angelo Davids. Penalty goals: Kade Wolhuter (2).
Airlink Pumas 37 (8) – Tries: Sebastian de Klerk (2), Anele Lungisa, Willie Engelbrecht, Tapiwa Mafura. Conversions: Eddie Fouche (3). Penalty goals: Fouche (2).